Sunday

20th Oct 2019

Dutch polls show 'no' camp ahead

Three new polls show that a majority of Dutch people are likely to vote 'no' in the upcoming referendum on the EU constitution, although many are still undecided.

A new internet poll by the IPP institute (with 7,500 respondents) shows that 58.2 per cent would reject the new EU treaty, while 41.8 per cent would vote in favour, according to press reports on Monday (25 April).

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The Netherlands will put the draft constitution to a referendum on 1 June, three days after the French vote on 29 May.

A recent poll by election researcher Maurice de Hond also showed the Dutch 'no' camp ahead on Saturday (23 April), albeit by a slight margin.

Mr De Hond estimates the percentage of 'no' voters at 52 per cent while the 'yes' camp stands at 48 per cent.

But a Friday (22 April) poll by the TV station RTL suggested that 54 per cent of voters are still undecided.

The RTL poll confirms that opponents of the EU constitution outweigh its supporters by 24 per cent against 22 per cent.

Low turnout

Mr De Hond and RTL both expect the turnout to be low, at 32 per cent.

The turnout percentage in the Netherlands is important, as the referendum is non-binding - meaning that the Dutch parliament will have the final say on the ratification of the draft treaty.

Some political parties have said they will only respect the outcome of the referendum if turnout is above 30 per cent.

Motivations

Mr De Hond also presented the results of a survey showing the motives of people voting either for or against the text.

'Yes' voters think the EU constitution is an improvement on to the current situation and that the EU generally brings more advantages than disadvantages to the Netherlands.

Many supporters of the treaty also fear a disintegration of the EU if the draft treaty collapses.

'No' voters argue that the EU brings more bad than good to the country and disapprove of enlargement, especially the prospects of Turkish accession.

Competing online voting tests

Meanwhile, the country has seen the launch of two competing online voting surveys.

The IPP institute, an independent organisation promoting public participation in politics, kick-started one of the schemes.

But the 'no' campaign started an alternative version, claiming that the questions in the IPP test lead voters toward a 'yes'.

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